The show’s heart is storytelling — about the messy entanglements of people you’ll never meet — but it’s also a sustained argument for the importance of gossip itself, which isn’t frivolous at all. It brings people closer, upholds and upends social conventions, and grants a kind of power to the powerless, by way of knowledge about the powerful. But it doesn’t need to do that to be fun.
Gossip and crushing are similar pastimes, and not just because they’re both coded as childish, indulgent activities for girls and women. Both are vulnerable to malice, of course, but in their best and most basic forms, they’re ways of connecting: of thinking about and enjoying other people, for no reason other than that.
We each are engaged in a multitude of acts of service to our brothers and sisters. Every time we stop at a red light, offer money to a cashier, say hello, wash the dishes, put out the trash cans, we serve our family, our community, and the earth. In each of our daily roles - as builder or merchant, gardener or artist, teacher, healer, secretary, or salesmen - we can awaken compassion, we can find the spirit of Sangha and freedom.
Is that too much to expect? That I would name the stars
for you? That I would take you there? The splash
of my tongue melting you like a sugar cube?
That night reminded me of how much more enjoyable it is to genuinely invest in whatever you’re doing, even if it’s not immediately appealing to you. This is especially true when it comes to work. It may sound easier to give nothing—to promise to keep your face pointed at the screen, and nothing more, to do “braindead” work—but I actually think it’s a lot harder. This isn’t a bid against work that others might deem unglamorous or boring (most jobs can be interesting to the right people), it’s a bid against apathy generally. I don’t think checking out for long stretches of time is good for the human spirit.
That is all we have, this moment with the world. It will not last, because nothing lasts. Entropy, mortality, extinction: the entire plan of the universe consists of losing, and no matter how much we find along the way, life amounts to a reverse savings account in which we are eventually robbed of everything. Our dreams and plans and jobs and knees and backs and memories; the keys to the house, the keys to the car, the keys to the kingdom, the kingdom itself: sooner or later, all of it drifts into the Valley of Lost Things.
Nothing about that is strange or surprising; it is the fundamental, unalterable nature of things. The astonishment is all in the being here. It is the turtle in the pond, the thought in the mind, the falling star, the stranger on Main Street… To all of this, loss, which seems only to take away, adds its own kind of necessary contribution. No matter what goes missing, the object you need or the person you love, the lessons are always the same. Disappearance reminds us to notice, transience to cherish, fragility to defend. Loss is a kind of external conscience, urging us to make better use of our finite days. Our crossing is a brief one, best spent bearing witness to all that we see: honoring what we find noble, tending what we know needs our care, recognizing that we are inseparably connected to all of it, including what is not yet upon us, including what is already gone. We are here to keep watch, not to keep.
– Kathryn Schultz, Lost and Found
...you shouldn’t be dismayed if a sadness rises up in front of you, greater than any you have ever seen before; or if a disquiet plays over your hands and over all your doings like light and cloud-shadow. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. Why should you want to exclude from your life all unsettling, all pain, all depression of spirit, when you don’t know what work it is these states are performing within you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where it all comes from and where it is leading? You well know you are in a period of transition and want nothing more than to be transformed. If there is something ailing in the way you go about things, then remember that sickness is the means by which an organism rids itself of something foreign to it. All one has to do is help it to be ill, to have its whole illness and let it break out, for that is how it mends itself.
Letters to a Young Poet
Rainer Maria Rilke